A grand jury in Georgia has indicted three men in connection with the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. All three men now face charges for felony murder and aggravated assault in a case that garnered national attention thanks largely to the cellphone video taken by the men who were involved in Arbery’s shooting.
According to ABC News, Cobb District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes announced the result of the grand jury’s vote on Wednesday.
According to Holmes, “The presentation took an hour and a half and the true bill came back in 10 minutes.” The grand jury’s decision means that Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan each now face nine charges, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal contempt to commit a felony.
Arbery was shot and killed by Travis McMichael on Feb. 23 in an incident that involved McMichael’s father, Gregory, a retired police officer, and family friend William Bryan. On that night, Gregory McMichael spotted Arbery in a vacant construction site and believed that he was a person responsible for committing several break-ins in their neighborhood.
Gregory alerted Travis and the two grabbed their guns and began following Arbery, who was out jogging, in a white pickup truck. The pair called Bryan, who joined the chase and filmed a substantial portion of it on his cellphone.
Ultimately, the McMichaels caught and confronted Arbery, who struggled with them until Travis fired three gunshots at Arbery, who later died.
Local police were initially unwilling to pursue charges against the three men, apparently believing their claims of self-defense, until the video taken by Bryan was posted on social media on May 5, igniting a national firestorm. In response to widespread criticism of the local police’s actions in the case, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assumed control of the investigation into the shooting, and ultimately arrested all three men.
Arbery’s death, and the supposed bungling of the investigation into the McMichaels by the local police, was at least part of the impetus for the civil unrest that has rocked the nation for the last several weeks. Protesters have often called for justice for Arbery, as well as for other alleged victims of police violence or indifference, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.